The Kenyan government on Wednesday called on the industrialized countries to take urgent measures towards controlling world climate change and global poverty.
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka pointed out that while the industrialized countries were the biggest contributor to climate change, the brunt of their activities was borne by the poor in the developing countries.
Musyoka urged the industrialized countries to spearhead campaigns aimed at reducing emissions to the atmosphere while helping the less developed countries to come up with environment-friendly policies, especially in their pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
"Industrialized countries should ideally assume greater responsibility and take corrective measures by urgently reducing emissions into the atmosphere and support developing countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals while adapting to the realities of climate change," Musyoka observed.
The vice president was speaking when he officially opened the third East Africa Health and Scientific Conference which kicked off in Nairobi.
The three-day event whose theme is "Climate Change, Environment and Health" is being held in the country for the first time and brings together participants from the region.
The vice president said climate change should be tackled alongside global poverty as they both posed a serious challenge to the future health and prosperity of humanity.
He termed climate change as matter of grave concern in the world as it impacted negatively on the environment, development, poverty and food security, as well as on health and human rights.
Musyoka noted that climate change and poverty was major impediment to the developing world's attempts to achieve the MDGs, particularly those relating to the elimination of poverty, hunger and environmental degradation.
The vice president lamented that developing world lacked appropriate infrastructure such as storm walls and water storage to effectively deal with climatic change effects.
"Diseases such as malaria are likely to affect more people in the poorest regions of developing nations that are already hard hit by such diseases," Musyoka noted, adding that rain-fed agriculture particularly in Africa will be devastated.
The vice president observed that the East African region needed to develop sustainable strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change against the challenge it faced of ensuring her people's rights to land, forests, water, energy and livelihood.
He said Kenya, through the Medium Term Plan 2008-2012 of the " Vision 2030 Strategy" had put in place strategies that address environmental sustainability as she pursues her development agenda.
Public Health and Sanitation Minister Beth Mugo thanked the organizers of the conference, saying it created avenues for sharing information and research findings.
Mugo said there was need to strengthen public-private sector partnership in the area of research and policy formulations in a bid to ensure their implementation benefits the citizens.
(Xinhua News Agency March 26, 2009)